Sneak peek: Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide

July 20, 2017

Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide

My book, Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide, is coming out on July 31! If you’re interested, here’s a preview of the book’s intro.

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I started my first diary when I was nine years old and in fourth grade. Onward through middle school, high school, college, and my early twenties, I wrote almost every single day, filling notebook after notebook with my thoughts and observations. (And my crushes. So many crushes.) I also used a physical plan­ner and wrote out my to-do list every single day, long after apps and websites made both unnecessary.

But in the second half of my twenties, my diary writing slowed down, then ground to a halt. Part of this happened because I was writing as my full-time job, plus keeping a blog. But I was also sharing my thoughts with my friends via texts, instant messages, and emails all day, and I didn’t feel like rewrit­ing everything in a notebook at night. And though I still wrote out to-do lists every day in a steno pad, it wasn’t a habit that I did with a sense of intention, or that gave me any real sense of joy.

So, this is where I was in my journaling ~journey~ when I came to dot journaling a couple years ago. I first read about something called a “Bullet Journal” on my friend Jessica’s blog in December 2015, and was intrigued. Initially, I assumed it was some sort of new diary or planner to buy—and I thought, Great, I love buying new things! But when I went to the official website run by its creator, Ryder Carroll, I just got confused. Not only was it not something to buy, I couldn’t understand what, exactly, it was. When I heard “journal,” I thought “diary,” but this seemed like it was a . . . to-do list? And also a . . . calen­dar? Or . . . something? There were bullet points involved, and also a lot of words and phrases that I didn’t recognize, along with photos of incredibly simple journal pages that seemed to have very little in common with the elaborate, creative, beau­tiful pages I was seeing on Instagram—pages that were also, somehow (apparently?), from Bullet Journals. It seemed like a lot of people were using dot-grid journals to do . . . whatever it was they were doing, but that type of paper didn’t appear to be a requirement. I couldn’t figure out what the rules were, or exactly what the point was, either. Eventually, I gave up.

But after asking around and discovering that my friends had also been hearing about this new type of journal and also couldn’t understand what it was, I became determined to fig­ure it out. Turns out, Bullet Journaling is an incredibly simple concept that is remarkably difficult to explain, in part because “you do you” is such a major aspect of it—meaning everyone does it a little differently, and there are no real rules. And, over time, the Internet has transformed the basic idea—using sim­ple symbols and dot-grid journals to record the things that matter most—into what I’ve come to think of as “dot journaling” . . . aka, a creative, colorful, robust, and—listen, take this with a large grain of salt—Pinteresty version of the original concept.

I started dot journaling on January 1, 2016, and I quickly fell in love. It was exactly what I hadn’t realized I needed: a single notebook that incorporated my to-do lists, helped me stay organized, served as a fun creative outlet, and led me back to my roots as a diarist—I was thrilled to discover that I had no problem writing in it every single day. And in this book, I’ll show you how to get started dot journaling, and how to make it a habit (or an addiction?) for you, too.

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You can enter to win a copy of the book, a blank dot-grid journal, and a bunch of other amazing journaling supplies here (the winner will be chosen on July 31), and pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Books-a-Million, Workman, or Powell’s.

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